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review 2019-01-13 17:16
THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU by Chad Lutzke
The Same Deep Water as You - Chad Lutzke

 

I'll start simple: I love me some Chad Lutzke! THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU is yet another tale from the author I view as the one most able to make me cry. If there was a ribbon for that, he would take blue for first place.

 

As always, Chad put together an intimate story where his writing is top notch. The language is plain but the words are put together in such a way that they make you feel. They're like tiny little word arrows shot into your heart.

 

 

" You can put life on hold for a whole year dating someone, getting to know them, and then it all falls apart. Your heart is broken and you can’t do shit for another half a year without thinking of them, missing them, missing all that wasted time. I suppose with each one we walk away learning something about ourselves, about life, about how to love. Maybe we’re all just stepping stones for each other. We’re all helping somebody get somewhere. From here to a better there."

 

 

 

While I did enjoy this novella, I didn't feel the same poignancy that I normally experience when reading Chad's work. I've been thinking on it and I've come up with this for the reason why: the time period in which it's set. I came of age of with ACDC, Motley, Judas and Ozzy. I'm pretty sure The Cure came after that?? That means that all references to them went right over my head, (other than those to their most popular songs.) Being more familiar with the band and their music would probably have provided that extra connection or nostalgia I felt I was missing.

 

This is still Chad Lutzke though, so it's all good. It's still a story that grabs you and makes you think. It still has phrases put together in such a way that they touch your heart. It still builds into a satisfying tale in the end and what more could you ask for?

 

Recommended! You can get your copy here: THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU

 

 

*I bought this book with my hard earned cash. *

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review 2018-12-16 16:50
IN THE NIGHT WOOD by Dale Bailey
In the Night Wood - Dale Bailey

 

IN THE NIGHT WOOD was my first novel by Dale Bailey but I'm sure it won't be my last!

 

Within the pages of this dark fiction narrative is a fairy-tale like story, but no "happily ever after" ending is promised. A couple inherits an old manor located in the countryside of England, on the edge of a large, dark wood. Amidst the grief and guilt they feel due to a recent family tragedy, Charles and Erin feel like a move might be the very thing they need. But of course, in true fairy tale fashion, things go horribly awry. Will they be able to start the new life they needed? You'll have to read this to find out.

 

I'm trying not to give too much away while attempting to impart to you how much I enjoyed this book. There's a mystery about an old tome, (IN THE NIGHT WOOD) and its author. There's a mystery regarding the caretaker, whose job contract binds him to the house itself, not to the people in it. Lastly, (of course!), there's a mystery regarding the deep, dark wood and the creatures that may or may not live there.

 

While hoping to unravel all of these mysteries, the threads of guilt and grief remain and are woven throughout the fabric of this narrative. At times, the level of grief is so deep it seems like it will drown the lives of Charles and Erin completely.

 

Lastly, I need to mention the language and beauty of the writing. There are all kinds of literary references, some I picked up on and some I did not. The best part of which is you don't need to be familiar with all of the literary allusions to enjoy this gorgeously written story.

 

IN THE NIGHT WOOD is a slow burn of a mysterious, Gothic, fairy tale and one I enjoyed immensely.

 

Recommended!

 

You can get your copy here: IN THE NIGHT WOOD

 

*I received an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-10-05 18:30
OUT BEHIND THE BARN by Chad Lutzke and John Boden
Out Behind the Barn - Chad Lutzke,John Boden

 

OUT BEHIND THE BARN is totally original, weird and creepy. I loved it!

 

That said, this is not the type of story I've come to expect from either of these authors. I've enjoyed the work of John Boden for years now and what I always expect from him is beautiful writing and poignancy. I expect the same from Chad Lutzke as well, just slightly less poetic, maybe? I'm not sure what I expected from this novella, but it was not this strange story of Maggie, her farm and her boys.

 

Davey and Ronny are watching when Maggie gets home and carefully unloads her burden into the barn. Then an arm drops down from her carefully wrapped package. This has happened before, so they are not surprised or alarmed. Will the package work this time? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I'm finding it very difficult to review this book without giving anything away. It was short, spellbinding, mysterious, creative and suspenseful. Once the mystery is revealed, the problem remains as to how the characters will deal with it, and that's where the poignancy I expect from both of these authors showed up-in a big way.

 

The only issue I had with this story is that I expected to see one more chapter regarding a certain character's reaction to those poignant events. Then again, maybe that would have spoiled how I imagined that reaction went down?

 

OUT BEHIND THE BARN is a powerful piece of work, in spite of, (or perhaps because of of?), its short length. Either way, it affected me, and I'll be thinking about the boys and Maggie's farm for a long time.

 

Highly recommended!

 

*I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2018-08-01 18:45
THE AUCTIONEER by Joan Samson, narrated by Matt Godfrey
The Auctioneer: Valancourt 20th Century Classics - Matt Godfrey,Valancourt Books,Joan Samson

 

 Evil in a small town is one of my favorite horror tropes and books like this are the reason why!

 

Harlowe, New Hampshire is a small town surrounded by small farms. It's a tightly knit community, or at least the townsfolk believe it is, until an outsider comes to town and things begin to unravel.

 

Perly Dunsmore is an auctioneer. Taking over a recently available old mansion in town, (due to the death of the previous owner), Perly sets about "improving" Harlowe by holding auctions to benefit the police department. These auctions are funded by the generous donations of the townspeople. Until they're no longer able to do so, (eventually there's nothing left), in which case they are gently and quietly threatened to come up with more donations, or ELSE. Will Harlowe survive these auctions or will it rise up against Perly in protest? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I've been thinking about what this novel was really about and I'm still not quite sure. The strongest feeling I have about it relates to that old poem: "First they came for the Socialists...", but that's not quite right. Then I was wondering if it was really about fascism-the auctions after all first funded a police department, to the point of having almost as many officers and deputies as there were citizens in the entire town. But that doesn't quite fit the bill either, especially in light of the finale. Then I finally gave up the analyzing and endeavored to enjoy this novel for the yummy, atmospheric piece of horror fiction that it was.

 

If this is the type of story that usually works for you, (quiet, small town horror a la Tryon's HARVEST HOME, or maybe Michael Rowe's ENTER, NIGHT), I highly recommend you give this book a shot! I listened to it on audio, narrated by Matt Godfrey, whose voicing of Ma Moore I will never forget.

 

Atmospheric, full of tension and palpable fear, THE AUCTIONEER still holds up as an excellent tale, even now, 40 years later. I give it my highest recommendation!

 

*I received this audiobook gratis from the narrator in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it! Further, I consider Matt Godfrey to be a friend, although we've never met in person. This has not affected the content of this review.*

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review 2018-07-16 22:30
HYSTERIA by Stephanie M. Wytovich, narrated by Teagan Gardner
Hysteria: A Collection of Madness - Stephanie M. Wytovich,Steven Archer,Michael A. Arnzen,Teagan Gardner

The entire time I was listening to this poetry collection, THE YELLOW WALLPAPER by Charlotte Perkins Gilman was in the back of my mind. HYSTERIA is about women and their likelihood of falling victim to men, to the world, to their children...and back again to the men. Unlike Gilman's story though, in HYSTERIA, the women often rise up and take what's due. I loved it!

 

I've admitted it before, but I will again here so we're clear, poetry is generally not my thing. But women are-especially strong women, women who have been through things in their life, women for whom life has not been easy. Most of this volume focuses on them, which is why, (I think), it speaks to me so intimately.

 

There are a lot of poems within and I can't get into all of them here, but I especially loved GREED, PLAYMATE OF THE NIGHT and GUARDIAN ANGEL:

 

"...lock me up somewhere else/you say the wrong thing around here, people start to think you're crazy, like madness is some contagion you breathe in through the air/I just told them that sweet Jezebel didn't like it when the men talk to her like that/when they visited her in her cell and touched her pretty face/ran their fingers through her silky hair/they beat me to get out my crazy..."

 

I found Stephanie Wytovich's prose to be killer: in bringing to mind vivid renderings of women-abused, crazy, strong, wild, beautiful, ugly, willful, sexy and with TEETH. Don't turn your back on these women, especially if you've done them wrong in the past. At the same time, some of these ladies are kind and nurturing, or at least they were... before they were diagnosed with HYSTERIA.

 

Highly recommended for fans of poetry and dark fiction!

 

*Thank you to Stephanie M. Wytovich for the free Audible copy of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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